For those who travel for work, juggling life at home while on the road can be a difficult task. Adding children to the mix can add to the stress. However, it does not have to be this way. With the right approach, traveling parents can maintain a healthy work-life balance and continue to strengthen their relationships at home. Practice these four tips during your next business trip to make life easier for both you and your family.
Keep them posted
Ensure everyone in the family is on the same page by keeping a shared calendar that displays future business trips and by discussing upcoming events as a family. This helps foster open communication between parents and children, prepares children for an approaching absence, and serves as a reminder for parents to coordinate care while one or both are traveling.
Communication is key
By having an honest conversation with your children about your travel plans and how they may feel about them, you not only convey important information and comfort them, but you also build trust. Combine this discussion with quality time together before (and after!) your trip. Giving children undivided attention and sharing special moments before a big trip can create lasting memories to help them cope during your absence.
Utilize the tools of today
Turn it into family/business trip
- Share things in a snap: A picture is worth a thousand words, so send your family back home photos of your trip to help them feel more connected and see life through your eyes while on the road.
- Spend time face to face: Bring the aforementioned photos to life with a video chat instead! With apps like FaceTime™, WhatsApp™ and Skype™, parents no longer have to settle for just a voice chat.
- Read them a story: Travel that disrupts a bedtime routine can be particularly tough for younger children. However, for parents who are used to reading to their children, there’s Kindoma™. This iPad app enables traveling parents to read over 250 books along with their children over video chat, making it possible to stick to that bedtime ritual.
- Challenge kids to a game: If children have smartphones or gadgets of their own, parents can keep in touch by playing games with each other with apps like Words with Friends™ or Hanging with Friends™, a new spin on the classic game of hangman.
While not every business trip can include family, there may be occasional opportunities to bring them along. For instance, when a business trip runs until the end of a work week, meeting with the rest of the family for the weekend is a great way of mixing business with pleasure. Certain cities are a natural fit for both business and families, including Orlando, San Diego, New York City or Boston.
Despite the challenges that business travel brings for both workings moms and dads, technology, planning and communication help reduce disruptions to the daily routine and maintain a strong relationship with your children.